Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Vito

Vito is the Italian and Spanish form of an Old Roman name Vitus, from the Latin “vita” meaning “life”. It’s a name that spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages thanks to the veneration of a late 3rd/early 4th century young saint, Vitus of Sicily. His legends today are considered largely embellished, but in medieval times they were wholly believed. It is certain that a young boy named Vitus who was either seven or 12 (depending on the source) was martyred for his Christian beliefs. According to tradition, Vitus was the son of a Roman senator and, after refusing to denounce Christianity, fled to Lucania with his tutor and his nanny. The boy was summoned to drive an evil spirit out of the Roman Emperor’s son, yet when Vitus was successful in this undertaking, he was accused of sorcery and sentenced to death. When Vitus was submerged into a cauldron of molten tar, an angel purportedly carried him off to Lucania where he was given a proper Christian burial in 303 A.D. (his Feast Day is June 15). Much later in the 8th century, Saint Vitus’ relics ended up at the Basilica of St Denis (France) and were later transported to a cathedral in the Duchy of Saxony (Germany) by the 9th century. A large cult grew up around Vitus in medieval Europe, particularly in the Germanic states where people would hold festivals on his Feast Day and perform a wild, jerking dance in his honor. Saint Vitus became one of the Roman Catholic Church’s so-called “Fourteen Helpers” who were the 14 saints summoned in the Late Middle Ages against health maladies (originating with a bubonic plague outbreak around the Rhineland). St. Vitus was invoked specifically against epilepsy, an ailment little understood to medieval folk (he is also a patron saint of actors, comics, dancers, oversleeping, snake bites and lightening). In the 10th century, the bones of one of St. Vitus’ hands were presented to the Duke of Bohemia (it remains to this day in the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague). As a direct result of St. Vitus’ widespread popularity throughout Europe (especially Eastern Europe) in the Middle Ages, the name Vito has endured the test of time. Although we will forever think of Vito as a quintessential Italian name, it is currently most popular in the countries of Croatia and Slovenia.

All About the Baby Name – Vito

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME VITO

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME VITO

What we love about the name Vito is its meaning: “life”. Just as “Zoë” means “life” in Greek and “Chaim” means “life” in Hebrew, Vito is another powerful name that embodies just about everything. How much bigger can you get than the meaning of “life”, right? We also love Vito for its strong Italian flavor: Mario, Vito, Luigi, Guido, Giuseppe, Sergio – they are just all so, so Italian! Vito is especially Italian (from an American perspective, at least) when you consider that Vito Corleone was the titular character in Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”. Perhaps even stereotypically Italian-American. In any case, the high point of Vito’s usage as a baby boy’s name here in the United States occurred in the early part of last century. This coincides with a large wave of Italian immigration into the U.S. (late 19th century/early 20th century). While never reaching beyond light-moderate usage, Vito still had a good ride there for awhile. By the second half of the 20th century, interest in Vito slowly diminished. In fact, 1986 marks the last year Vito would claim Top 1000 status here in America. Only 75 baby boys were given the name Vito in 2012. The good news for Vito is that interest in Italian names is soaring here in the U.S. We’re seeing strong growth in names like Giovanni, Matteo and Leonardo. Vito has yet to be rediscovered. Some might find it just a tad too ethnically Italian (thanks to The Godfather).

Quick Facts

ON VITO

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Italian

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

VEE-tō (Italian); BEE-tō (Spanish)

SIMPLE MEANING:

Life

Characteristics

OF VITO

Communicative

Creative

Optimistic

Popular

Social

Dramatic

Happy

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Vito

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME VITO

Vito Andolino Corleone is the protagonist in Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel, The Godfather, from which Francis Ford Coppola fashioned his 1972 blockbuster movie, in which the character was portrayed unforgettably by Marlon Brando. Vito is an Italian immigrant who has risen to be the don of a powerful crime family, and who is training his eldest son to take over. The “family business” includes gambling, liquor, prostitution, racketeering and retaliatory murder, but not, we are piously informed, drug pushing. In viewing this aberrant distillation of the American Dream, somehow, we come to respect and almost love Vito Corleone, as he struggles to carry on the loftier aspects of his trade against a rising tide of opportunists. We pull for him to make it through when an attempt is made on his life; we sympathize with his intentions to keep his son Michael out of the business (maybe to be a senator!), and we appreciate his insistence on keeping his biological family, especially the women and children, above the fray. We are fools, all, and we wouldn’t make it to first base with Vito Corleone.

Popular Songs

ON VITO

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Vito


Famous People

NAMED VITO

Vito "Don Vito" Genovese (American mafia crime boss)
Vito Acconci (American landscape architect, designer and artist)

Children of Famous People

NAMED VITO

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Vito

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME VITO

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Vito